Architecture

This Architecture degree offers an education in design at every level: from the smallest detail of a building to the planning of entire cities and regions. And Cambridge offers a spectacular location in which to study it. The city’s beautiful buildings, courts, interiors and gardens include work by renowned architects from Sir Christopher Wren to Sir James Stirling, Ralph Erskine, Edward Cullinan, Erik Sorensen and Sir Michael Hopkins. Inspiration, everywhere.

Why Study Architecture at Christ's?

Over the centuries Christ’s has welcomed architects and prospective architects of many kinds. Look no further than our College buildings for evidence of our inclusive approach. Nowhere else in Cambridge do you find both the concrete modernism of Denys Lasdun and the Gothic revivalism of Gilbert Scott the Younger. And that’s alongside quirks such as a water conduit-turned-ornamental feature and a quadrangle with a circular lawn.

When you choose Christ’s as an undergraduate, you join a thriving community of Masters and PhD students in Architecture, Urban Studies and Urban Design. Beyond Christ’s, you benefit from strong connections with King’s College (we share a Director of Studies) and plenty of opportunities to socialise at parties and dinners.

Christ’s graduate Chris Hamill won a Philip Webb Award 2018 for design in the historic built environment for a project he did during his MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design, while Director of Studies Dr Felipe Hernández won First Prize in the Servicios y Asistencia Pública category of the 2014 CEMEX Awards, in Collaboration with Architect Alfonso Garduno and Taller Activo de La Ciudad, Queretaro, Mexico (information about the project).

Many of our Architecture graduates go on to pursue professional training and practice, some become architectural historians and others work in fields as diverse as conservation, horticulture, journalism, publishing, arts promotion, risk management, strategic consultancy and urban planning.
 

New Court, Christ's College
  New Court, Christ's College

Course content and structure

Our BA emphasises the teaching of architecture as a cultural as well as a technological subject. This course is unique in combining the intellectual challenge of a Cambridge degree with the opportunity for creative design.

The Architecture course (or ‘tripos’) is a three-year degree and carries exemption from Part 1 of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) exams. Please visit the University website for full details of the Architecture course content and structure.
 

Teaching

The Cambridge course takes an unashamedly academic approach, though (as in other architecture schools) the focus of the teaching programme is on practical design carried out in studios.

Christ’s Director of Studies for Architecture is Dr Irit Katz, an architect and scholar who focuses on the socio-political and cultural aspects of architecture and urbanism. Michael Driver (MA DipArch RIBA) is a member of Christ's College and Affiliated Lecturer in the Department of Architecture where he specialises in Construction and Design.

At Christ’s we encourage our undergraduate Architects to broaden their perspectives as much as possible. Recent Christ’s students have taken part in design projects in Colombia and Mexico, as well as architectural excursions closer to home. We offer generous travel grants and help with the costs of materials for studio projects and key textbooks.
 

How to apply

Visit How to Apply for full details and a timeline of the application process. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds and school types, all over the world. If you're applying from outside the UK, please read our international students section.

News

University-wide statement: In order to minimise Covid-related risks to our applicants, students and staff in the coming undergraduate admissions round, we are making plans to interview applicants this year without requiring them to travel to Cambridge in December. We will release further details about alternative arrangements as soon as we can.

New for candidates applying this year, there's a requirement to send artwork (electronically) early in the admissions process. Details are below.

At Christ's we have a page for Coronavirus disruptions and applying this year - we recommend reading and then keeping an eye on it.


Subjects: what do you need?

We expect you to have a combination of both essay subjects and sciences/maths subjects. There are no specific requirements but A-level Art and AS-level Mathematics or Physics are desirable.

We want to see your enthusiasm for both arts and sciences, and a creative ability to represent the world in a variety of ways. You should be able to draw in various media and make objects (sculptures, installations, models) using different materials and techniques. We also look for an interest in the history of art and architecture.

If you don’t have a formal qualification in Art, please contact the Admissions Office to ask about the standard of work required for a competitive portfolio.

Sending a 6-page pdf of Artwork

When we receive your application, we will ask you to send example artwork that you feel accurately reflects your abilities and interests. You will need to create an A4 pdf of exactly 6 pages, and ideally no more than 15MB. The selection of images should, in some part, reflect material you might plan to bring to interview. This will need to be submitted electronically (not in hard copy) and details for sending it will be given as part of the current applicants section, published on 20 September

Note that this requirement to send us artwork at this stage in the process is new for students applying this year, and it comes in addition to the request for you to bring a portfolio with you if you are invited for interview.

Your portfolio

Applicants who are invited for interview will be asked to bring a portfolio with them. We don’t expect your portfolio to be architectural in nature (such as plans or sections) but rather to be work that shows your interests, experience and ability in the visual and material arts.

The basis of your portfolio should be drawing and painting work, but you can also include other media such as sculpture, installation, photography or video art. We would like to see ongoing drawings in any media (pencil, charcoal, crayon) showing a variety of subject matter. This can be material you’ve prepared for exams or creative work you’ve done outside of school.

Your portfolio will be submitted as an electronic file and we will provide details on the format, how to send the work and the deadline by July. For example, if you’d like to show us any 3D work or a painting, you will need to take photos of it to submit.

REMEMBER: your portfolio isn’t just a compilation of work, it’s a creative piece that showcases your ability to communicate your ideas. One the instructions for sending are available, think carefully about the best possible way you can present it to us.

Corner of buildingInterviews

University-wide statement: In order to minimise Covid-related risks to our applicants, students and staff in the coming undergraduate admissions round, we are making plans to interview applicants this year without requiring them to travel to Cambridge in December. We will release further details about alternative arrangements as soon as we can. This does mean that there may be changes to the details of interviews in this section (which sets out what normally happens).

For candidates selected for interview in Cambridge, you have two interviews at Christ's, usually in early December. You will need to bring your portfolio to both interviews.

Take a look at the information and short films on Cambridge admissions interviews to find out what to expect. In the case of Architecture, international applicants are advised to apply for interview in Cambridge rather than an overseas interview (please check the eligibility criteria for any overseas interview location you are considering).

Admissions Assessment

If we invite you for interview, we ask you to take a written assessment on the same day. We arrange this automatically so you don’t need to register, and you do the same assessment regardless of which college you apply to.

Read more about the format and see sample questions at Undergraduate Architecture entry requirements on the University website.

Offers

At Christ's we don’t have fixed quotas for places, so the number of students we admit in any year depends on the strengths of the applicants. In Architecture, we aim to admit at least two students each year. A total of 44 students are admitted to the BA in Architecture across all Cambridge colleges each year.

You need to be academically ambitious: our typical conditional offer for Architecture is A*AA at A-level, or for IB students 42 points overall with 7,7,6 in Higher Level subjects, but the majority of Christ’s students arrive with higher grades. If you're taking another qualification, we expect you to be working at or close to the top of the mark range (thus Option Internationale du Baccalauréat candidates are asked to achieve at least 17/20 overall, with 17 or 18 in relevant subjects, and candidates taking the European Baccalaureate need at least 85% overall, with 9/10 in relevant subjects, for example). Read about offer levels in other exam systems and international entrance requirements.

If you will have finished school when you apply, read about post-qualification applications.
 

Helpful resources

Reading suggestions Suggestions so you can choose according to your interests – we don’t expect you to have read all of these if you come for interview!
Scroop Journal The annual architecture journal of Cambridge’s Department of Architecture
Young Architect blog Helpful blog, podcasts and newsletter
Resources for school subjects Our online learning resources page has resources organised by school subject.
CamGuides Introducing the academic and information skills that you will need during your studies, as well as how and where you be working.


Student Q&A film
  Watch the Christ's student Q&A film

Come to an Open Day or Online Event

Online events: Our open days and events page advertises online opportunities as well as events you can attend in Cambridge, and we encourage you to watch the Christ's student Q&A film,

Coming to a Christ's College Open Day can help you get a feel for the College and give you the opportunity to ask students and staff about the Architecture course in person.
 

Need more information?

For a full picture of what the course involves, please take a look at Undergraduate Architecture admissions on the University website and visit the Architecture Department page too.

If you have any queries at all, please contact us at admissions@christs.cam.ac.uk and we’ll be happy to advise.
 

"The study of Architecture at Cambridge doesn’t only deal with buildings. From building a tent in the Fens, to studying the Greek Agora in lectures, we’re encouraged to think of people, places, materials, philosophy and history, and only then consider the actual building! The course here has been a life-changing experience, meeting amazing people, creating incredible things and overall enjoying myself."

Kathryn